The Perfection of the Law and the
Imperfection of Man
Imperfection of Man
We confess and acknowledge that the law of God is most just, equal, holy, and perfect, commanding those things which, when perfectly done, can give life and bring man to eternal felicity; but our nature is so corrupt, weak, and imperfect, that we are never able perfectly to fulfill the works of the law.
Even after we are reborn, if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth of God is not in us. It is therefore essential for us to lay hold on Christ Jesus, in his righteousness and his atonement, since he is the end and consummation of the Law and since it is by him that we are set at liberty so that the curse of God may not fall upon us, even though we do not fulfill the Law in all points. For as God the Father beholds us in the body of his Son Christ Jesus, he accepts our imperfect obedience as if it were perfect, and covers our works, which are defiled with many stains, with the righteousness of his Son.
We do not mean that we are so set at liberty that we owe no obedience to the Law— for we have already acknowledged its place—but we affirm that no man on earth, with the sole exception of Christ Jesus, has given, gives, or shall give in action that obedience to the Law which the Law requires. When we have done all things we must fall down and unfeignedly confess that we are unprofitable servants. Therefore, whoever boasts of the merits of his own works or puts his trust in works of supererogation, boasts of what does not exist, and puts his trust in damnable idolatry.
This fits perfectly with what we've been talking about on Wednesday night with our Romans Bible study. How are we saved? What do we contribute to our salvation? What must we do?
Here in the confession we find the answer--we must accept the grace of Christ. There aren't actions that must be followed, steps that we take in order to attain salvation. No, we accept Christ's love and acknowledge that it transforms us, even in the midst of our sin. We are sinful and broken, but Christ and his amazing sacrifice for our sins has redeemed us. The only way we are to approach Christ is with humility, recognizing our ability to sin and his forgiveness, offered freely to us through faith. It is hard to accept his grace and our own powerlessness, but that is the way that we have--dropping our own yoke and taking on Christ's, which has been prepared for us. Thanks be to God for grace and love beyond what we can imagine!